Photo Credit: AP
Ladies and gents, yesterday was a good day for Red Sox Nation.
In the first two game against the homestanding Twins the Red Sox were atrocious. Chris Sale pitched remarkable. The next night David Price threw the ball well. In the case of both starters, no offensive help was provided. It wasn’t as if Minnesota pitching dominated because they didn’t. For the Red Sox hitters, the opportunities to make significant dents in the scoreboard came one after another.
So what exactly was the problem?
It’s easy. The Red Sox shot themselves in the foot time and time again. Chances were present but were discarded without a second thought. Boston was their own worst enemy.
It was an entirely different story. How did the Red Sox recover and salvage the series with the Twins?
Rick Porcello took the ball and then dominated the Twins from the first pitch until the final pitch he threw after 7 complete innings. The man was simply on fire. Conceding only one hit, he held the Twins scoreless. Striking out 5, Porcello worked at a deliberate pace while trusting his defense to make plays behind him in which they did.
One moment that stood out like a sore thumb occurred in the bottom half of the first inning when Porcello hit Twins’ third baseman Eduardo Escobar. First off we need to rewind to the top half of the first inning. In the top half of the first, Boston DH J.D. Martinez was brushed off the place and as a result Martinez quickly found himself on his backside. Over the course of the 10-game road trip, Martinez had been knocked to the ground on multiple occasions.
Something had to give and Porcello delivered a 92-mph fastball up and in drilling Escobar squarely on the elbow. Unhappy with the upstairs beaning, some took exception accusing Porcello of intentionally head-hunting. Understandably it’s easy to draw the conclusion of Porcello’s intent. Was that the case? No it wasn’t. More than anything it appeared as if the ball sailed a bit higher than Porcello intended but there was also no doubt he was looking for retaliation.
Seven shutout innings of one hit ball improved Rick Porcello’s record to 9-3 on the season.
Red Sox Offense:
The Red Sox bats came alive for the first time since Sunday’s series Father’s Day finale at Seattle in which they hammered out 9 runs in a route of the Mariners.
Although it took until the top of the 4th inning to make dent on the scoreboard, considering how putrid Boston was at the plate in the previous two games, it was better late than never.
The offense burst to life in a colossal manner plating 9 run on 16 hits. Minnesota’s outfield needed their track shoes on just to keep up. Red Sox hitters used every inch of the diamond. It wasn’t just home runs the Red Sox relied on. They did an outstanding job of manufacturing several runs as well.
The 3-4 hole hitters in JD Martinez and Mitch Moreland turned Target Field into their own person batting cage-something the Red Sox urgently needed to see. Every starter in the lineup recorded at least 1 hit except for Devers.
Since coming back off the DL Mookie Betts did show a whole lot of rust at the dish. His timing was a bit suspect. Because of the caliber of hitter Betts has become, he shook off the thin layer of rust rather quickly with a lead off single in the top of the first inning. In the 5th inning Betts struck again. This time connecting on a moonshot opposite field blast into the right center field seats.
Andrew Benintendi is finding the consistency the Red Sox organization has been waiting for since his call up in late 2016. In the 8th inning, Benintendi pulled out a 9-iron disguised as a baseball bat delivering a 2-run shot well into the right field seats.
Now with Betts and Benintendi back into the every day lineup together, their combination in the batting order has the potential to establish them as the best 1/2 hole hitters in all of baseball. What’s not to like about that?
The 2 game losing skid is officially over:
Target Field stand as one of the most paramount ball parks in all of baseball. Its a beautiful place and hitters from all over are infatuated with playing there. It is without a doubt a hitters park. That being said, Tuesday and Wednesday night became the house of horrors for the Red Sox especially offensively. Whatever could’ve went wrong did go wrong in games 1 and 2 of the series. Opportunities to score were there to be had. The fact is they had a plethora of chances and shot themselves in the foot almost every time.
Thursday afternoon proved to be the polar opposite of games 1 and 2. Thank god! Boston finished off the 10-game road trip going 6-4. It’s nothing to be ashamed about by any means but there were higher hopes of going 7-3 or even 8-2. Ultimately ending the road trip with on a winning note isn’t a bad deal. They needed it.
Goodbye road, hello Fenway Park:
After playing 10 games in an 11 day span, venturing back to Fenway Park for the next 6 games has to feel comforting. At least we’d like to think. Not only does Boston return home for the next 6 games, the will get a shot to redeem themselves against Mariners southpaw starter Wade LeBlanc. Less than a week ago LeBlanc threw the game of his life allowing 1 hit through 7 2/3 innings as the Red Sox looked mesmerized. To Wade’s credit he threw a terrific game but at the same time, Boston hitter did a poor job of adjusting and they paid for it in getting dominated.
Will the Red Sox allow Wade LeBlanc to set the pace tonight? We’re going to find out.
It’s time to shift our attention to the next series:
New night. New opponent. A familiar and prosperous venue.
Go Red Sox!!